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Folate May Help Women Avoid Pancreatic Cancer

Women that consume more folate, whether in their diet or through supplements, may significantly reduce their risk of developing pancreatic cancer according to a recent study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The NIH researchers published their findings in the 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The researchers analyzed dietary data, including multivitamin use, of over 100,000 participants aged 55-74 at the start of the study. The dietary data was acquired through self administered food frequency questionnaires from 1998-2005.

During the study, 162 men and 104 women developed pancreatic cancer. The researchers found that women with the highest folate levels were 50% less likely to develop pancreatic cancer. However, a similar association was not found for men.

This study comes on the heels of a recent study by Japanese researchers that showed folate may help people avoid depression. Folate has also been shown to reduce the risk of birth defects, stroke and hearing loss.

You can get folate (vitamin B9) naturally through a variety of foods including leafy green vegetables, dried beans, lentils and peas. The man-made version of folate is called folic acid and it can be found in supplement form and as an additive in foods like bread, cereal and grains.

Be sure to cook your foods correctly to get the optimum amount of folate; for instance, steaming instead of boiling vegetables.

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